By Staff Reporter
November 22, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia will launch its first satellite into space on December 17, 2019, at 6:21 AM morning with the assistance of China, according to Dr. Engineer Getahun Mekuria, Minister of Innovation and Technology.
Briefing journalists on Friday, November 22, 2019, the minister said the satellite called Multi-Spectral Remote Sensing Satellite ETRSS-1 will be launched from China while the control and command station will be in Ethiopia
“The ETRSS-1 which weighs 70kg will be launched in partnership with China with the command and control center in Ethiopia at the Entoto space observatory facility located on the outskirt of Addis Ababa,” he said.
He stated that the main focus of Ethiopia’s first satellite will be to gather data inputs related to water, agriculture, climate change, and environmental protection. Currently, there are 20 Ethiopian engineers involved in the launching and design of the first satellite.
According to Getahun, the satellite will be positioned at 80-degree latitude around Ethiopia and east and West African countries.
“Our main goals by launching this first satellite are two. The first one is to build technology application capacity and skills of our engineers through collaborations with different countries’ space scientists and institutions. So that they will be in a position to design, build and launch the second satellite independently.
The second one is the direct support the first satellite gives to the social and economic development in terms of saving the money the country is currently spending on buying data, such as climate data,” he said.
Reports show that in Africa, South Africa and Algeria have already launched their own communication satellite to the orbit so far, while Egypt launched its first satellite on Wednesday, November 21, 2019.
In addition to the 20 Ethiopian space engineers, currently, there are some 60 Ph.D. and MA students at the Addis Ababa University Space Science and Technology Institute, which is teaching them in collaboration with Entoto Observatory and Research Center, many universities from across the world.
Astronomy and Astrophysics, Space Science ad Application, Remote Sensing ad Geodesy are the four major areas the students are currently studying. Students from other African countries such as Rwanda and Tanzania are also among the students.
The satellite is estimated to cost Ethiopia around $8 million without taking into consideration insurance and training costs. The cost reportedly includes the design, development, and manufacturing of the satellite, which is done by both Ethiopian professionals and their Chinese partners.
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